Eve Essay

Eve Essay

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Reinventing Literary History- Cregan                          Joselyn Wohl
Paradise Lost by John Milton                                   2/16/99

     It is obvious to the reader that John Milton blames Eve entirely for initiating the
original sin and thus losing Paradise. It is she who convinces her husband to allow them
to work separately, and it is she who is coerced to eat the fruit that was expressly
forbidden by God. John Milton’s view is patriarchal, but involves a contradictory
description of Eve as logical, for men at that time did not view women as intelligent.
Milton’s demonstration of Eve’s ability to analyze God’s commands with reason and her
own judgment emphasizes his opinion that in order to succeed one needs only to have
faith in God, which supersedes all intellect, for God is the most knowledgeable being.
Adam has the undying faith necessary to remain in Paradise, but Eve obviously does not
and is therefore responsible for her sins, and for their banishment.
     In deciding how Adam and Eve will carry out their daily labors, Eve wants to
work apart from Adam and to “divide [their] labours” because
     While so near eachother thus all day
     [Their] task [they] choose, what wonder if so near
     Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
     Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
     [Their] day’s work brought to little, though begun
     Early, and th’hour of Supper comes unearn’d (ix, 220-224).
Eve’s rationalization for working separately from Adam is that she thinks that they will
be able to get more work done considering the fact that they will not be distracted by each
other. Adam feels protective over Eve and is fearful that the “malicious Foe/ Envying
[their] happiness, and of his own/ Despairing, seeks to work [them] woe and shame/ By
sly assault” (ix, 253-256). Adam is taking into careful considerat...

... middle of paper ...

emphasizes a woman’s
inability to think without her husband, because when Eve goes off on her own and tries to
use “logic” she sins. The Serpent’s “words replete with guile/ Into her heart too easy
entrance won... and in her ears the sound/ Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregn’d/
With Reason, to her seeming, and with Truth” (ix, 733-738|). Milton is insinuating here
that the serpent’s malicious lies seemed like the truth to ignorant and naive Eve. Eating
the fruit explicitly forbidden by her creator, she is guilty of the fall of Paradise, despite
her obvious intelligence and reasoning. The irony of Milton’s argument is that Eve does
have a well functioning brain, but he final judgment is wrong. Women may be intelligent
but they are not wise because Eve has sinned against God, and there is no worse act that a
Protestant can commit. In order to be successful in life, one must possess wisdom, and it
seems that Milton does not place it within Eve’s character, but in Adam’s character, the
man. In conclusion, even though a woman can think analytically, she cannot make wise
judgements on her own and is susceptible to mistakes and sins, usually brought about by
foul temptation.

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